From nursery to school:
their first day
The first day of school is an exciting time for your child. As they skip off with their little socks pulled up and a backpack full of pencils, it's the start of a new chapter for you both.
You might be nervous about your little one taking this step into the big, wide world, but don’t let them see those tears at the playground gate. Telling them how exciting it will be to meet other children, to play in the playground and to learn new things will help them look forward to school.
Letting your little one play with other children helps them develop the social skills they’ll need for school. Taking your toddler to playgroup or nursery gives them a head start. They'll get used to interacting with other children on a daily basis and experience a routine similar to school.
Something else you can do to help your child prepare for ‘big school’ is to visit the actual building as much as possible. They'll get used to the journey and see the children coming out at the end of the day. You might even be able to take them in for a few afternoon sessions (such as toddler music class) too. Then by the time they start, it won’t feel out of the ordinary.
How about getting a regular morning routine going so your little one gets used to doing the same things day in, day out? Introduce the idea of 'it’s time for...' such as it's time for lunch, time for hand-washing, time for going to the toilet. It’s also a great idea to get them used to the idea of sitting down and doing activities like painting or shape-sorting puzzles for short periods.
Letting your little one dress themselves will help them feel more grown up. You can help by making sure their uniform includes pull-on trousers or skirts, and picking shoes with buckles or Velcro rather than laces. Other essentials include teaching them to go to the toilet, to wipe their bottom and wash their hands.
No matter how prepared your child is for school, it might all go out of the window when they actually get there. It's a big step and it might cause a little shuffle backwards in areas like toilet training or tantrums. Don’t worry, it won’t last too long – some children take a day or two to get used to school, and they'll feel fully settled after a month or so.
For the first couple of weeks your little student will probably be rather tired when they come home from school so allow them time to relax. Show an interest in what they've been up to but don’t worry if they're quiet, they might have just had enough for one day!